Are we really the lone sentient species in the universe? These films give a firm resounding ‘of course not!’. The topic of the existence of aliens have long interested people who have brought their speculative imaginations to life in numerous science fiction works. To pay tribute to these films, here are 10 of the best alien movies of all time.
Top 10 Best Alien Movies of All Time
Independence Day (1996)
Inspired by other science fiction greats like Aliens and War of the Worlds, Independence Day (1996) is a story about a group of people who try to save our planet after being attacked by vicious aliens.
The film presents a more pessimistic view of extraterrestrial life. It would be nice to know that humans aren’t alone in the universe, right? But what if our neighbor’s turn isn’t the friendly creatures we thought them to be? Independence Day shows us how that’ll turn out.
Horror director M. Night Shyamalan, tries his hand at making a science fiction film about aliens with Signs (2002).
Starring Mel Gibson and Joaquin Phoenix in the lead roles, the films tells the story of a family who discovers mysterious patterns which appear in their field. Hmmm…who could possibly be making these?
Although criticized for a less than substantial plot, the film makes up for it with Shyamalan’s skillful anxiety and tension building perfectly conveyed by the performances of the film’s main actors.
Predator (1987) is another best alien film that successfully combines aliens with elements of the action film genre.
The film stars Arnold Schwarzenegger in his prime as the leader of a paramilitary group seeking to rescue another group in a guerrilla-held territory in Central America. Sounds like a difficult mission, huh? Well, it’s made even more challenging by the fact that the group is also being hunted by a high-tech alien.
Proving to be popular among audiences, the film would spawn plenty of sequels including a series of crossover films that pit the predator with the alien from the Alien franchise.
Under the Skin (2014)
Under the Skin (2014) used the concept of an alien inhabiting a beautiful young woman’s body to prey on humans as a commentary on the superficiality that humanity has.
An adaptation of the novel, The Crimson Petal, and the White, the film stars Scarlett Johansson as Laura, the alien’s host, and follows her story as she prowls the desolate highways for desolate men to victimize.
Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)
Of the many excellent films Steven Spielberg has made, Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) is no doubt his magnum opus.
Like most alien movies, the film is curious about the question of whether humans are alone in this universe. But what makes the film different and sets it apart from others is that it’s not concerned about the answer to this question. It is concerned with the question itself.
Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) is a beautiful piece of science fiction that explores our species fascination with aliens and the extreme lengths we’d be willing to go to connect with other beings in the galaxy.
District 9 (2009)
Shot in the style of a documentary, District 9 (2009) tells the story of alien refugees trapped in modern day South Africa a few decades after their first contact. They are then subjected to experimentation as human scientists sought to find out how the alien weaponry worked. However, this leads to the build of tension between the two species.
The film is praised for being a ‘politically engaged science fiction horror’ which manages to make the audience think and feel shame by the things the human characters in the film do.
A film based on a short science fiction story, Arrival (2016) tells the story of a human linguist sent to communicate with aliens who have recently arrived on earth to know why they’ve come to the planet.
Arrival was both a critical and box office success. It is most notable for its exploration of challenging topics and n amazing performance by Amy Adams in the lead role as the linguist.
The Thing (1982)
John Carpenter’s The Thing (1982) one of the best alien movie, is a remake of the 1951 film The Thing From Another World. But people often forget about that fact. That’s how good the film is. While the original is a good film, Carpenter’s remake, a masterclass in horror and science fiction, just outshined it.
The Thing (1982) follows a group of scientists isolated in Antarctica terrorized by a mysterious thing that was unleashed in their bunker when they took in a dog that was shot outside.
Set several centuries into the distant future, Alien follows the story of a crew on a mining vessel who become hosts to some bloodthirsty aliens which goal seems to be to eliminate all of them.
Some may say that Alien (1979) is a fresh take on the slasher movie genre that became popular in the 1970s mix with elements of sci-fi movies. Instead of a superhuman killer, director Ridley Scott introduces us to something scarier.
Watch as Ripley, played exquisitely by the badass Sigourney Weaver, outsmart and outwit the alien monster that boarded her crew’s craft in this dark film set in space. Alien (1979) is one of the best alien movies ever.
E.T. the Extra Terrestrial (1982)
Aliens have long been relegated to the villain role in science fiction movies but E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial (1982) shows us a more endearing side to them.
Directed by master filmmaker Steven Spielberg, the film tells the story of E.T. an alien who found his way into a family’s tool shed when he was accidentally left behind by his kin. If this were any other movie, the alien in the shed would have spelled destruction and chaos. But this isn’t just any other movie.
At its core, E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial (1982) is a heartwarming story about friendship and family everyone at any time period would find enchanting.
- Best Horror Movies of All Time
- Best Sci-Fi Movies of All Time
- Best Action Movies of All Time
- Best Comedy Movies of All Time
What’s your favorite alien movie? Did it make it into our best alien movies list? Check out our other top movie lists to see if your favorite films made it into any of them.